World Toilet Day is a serious matter. The global campaign aims to draw attention to the plight of 2.4 billion people around the world who do not have access to basic toilets.
This year, World Toilet Day organisers are encouraging the community to show and share their most private spaces in appreciation of having clean water and safe toilets.
So, in the spirit of the occasion, we look behind the dunny door at 10 toilets that are anything but ordinary.
Photos: Klein Dytham architecture
At first it looks like these toilets at Tokyo’s Narita Airport have no real privacy. But the silhouetted figures are video projections of contemporary dancers, not the occupants.
The project, a collaboration between Narita and bathroom product company TOTO, was last month named Japan’s best toilet.
Fun fact: Each cubicle has a digital timer that shows when the last occupant entered, so those waiting can see which space is likely to be vacated soonest.
Loos with views
Photo: Luther Ladner
The Haneul, or Sky Restroom is the highest toilet in Seoul. It’s on the observation deck of the 237-metre N Seoul Tower, which was built on Namsam Mountain in 1969 as a broadcast tower.
Since the tower opened to tourists in 1980, it has become one of the city’s best known and loved landmarks.
The luxurious toilets, likened to an art gallery, have become a tourist destination in their own right and offer breathtaking views of the city.
Back to nature
A group of Auburn University students designed three innovative “toilet experiences” at Perry Lakes Park on the outskirts of Marion, Alabama.
The 15-metre Tall Toilet reflects the outdoors in its aluminium exterior. The inside room is lined in cedar and has a views upwards to the tree canopy – ideal for the bird-watching the park is known for.
The student group also designed and created a Long Toilet and a Mound Toilet.
Kumutoto ‘sea monsters’
The architects’ brief for these public toilets was to create something iconic. They succeeded.
The result has been described as sea monsters or headless dinosaurs, looming above the waterfront at Wellington, New Zealand.
Each structure has one public toilet inside. The base is concrete and the brick-red metal “scales” provide ventilation and shelter from the rain.
Car park convenience
The open-air urinal in the middle of a Zurich car park was commissioned as part of an art project.
The area was reportedly a public common in ancient times, providing inspiration for the pink Portuguese marble creation which directs runoff to a small gravel garden and has a white neon beacon to guide nighttime visitors.
“Anything should be possible within a public space,” says architecture firm Bureau A.
Photo: Hernandez Silva Arquitectos
This bathroom at a luxury penthouse in Mexico gives new meaning to a long drop.
From the vantage point of the toilet seat, a disused lift shaft descending 15 storeys can be seen directly below the glass floor.
The shaft was created to house a second lift for the house, built in 2012 above a 1970s building in Guadalajara. But the decision was made during construction not to install the elevator and the power room was added instead.
Photo: Atelier FCJZ
Dinner party conversation is not likely to get bogged down in this house.
The 175-square-metre Vertical Glass House in Shanghai, by architects Atelier FCJZ, originated as a concept for housing in a high-density city and is now used as a guesthouse.
There are no windows in the concrete structure but the all-glass floors and roof make the house see-through, with the toilet in full view of the dining table above.
Public but private
The glass toilet blocks at Sulphur Springs, Texas, are some of America’s most famous toilets.
The mirrored glass means no one can see inside but the occupant has a clear view of the outside.
The effect works only when there is more light outside than inside, so exterior lighting is used at night to maintain the effect – and the privacy.
Green walls a winner
Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania, is one of the most popular and historical botanical gardens in the United States.
Last year, the facility won the coveted title of America’s best restroom.
The public toilets are accessed from a lush living wall which has itself grown into a tourist drawcard for greenthumbs – so popular that guides are now stationed at the toilets to answer questions about how the green wall is grown.
Bathroom from a blank canvas
More art than utility, the toilets at John Michael Kohler Arts Centre in Wisconsin have been created through collaboration between local artists and plumbing ware company Kohler.
There are six themed washrooms that have been commissioned as permanent installations.
Pictured is the dazzling blue-and-white Sheboygan men’s room by Brooklyn artist Ann Agee.
- Your own bathroom might not have what it takes to top the list but a little restoration can make it the envy of the street. Connect with a bathroom renovation expert through our partners at OneFlare to get started today.
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